Simple is good, but ...
J.A. Montalbano has some good observations on Testy Copy Editors. A sample:
I uppercased K.D. Lang's name in a story the other day. It felt good to do so. It looked good.
We got no angry calls from readers or Ms. Lang's people.
I began to have yellow cartoon visions of bangerless Yahoos. ...
We can make things simple and generic without losing meaning or distinction.
Well, yes ... and no. We often make things much more complicated than needed. And let's just call it the "athletics" director and, as Montalbano suggests, forget this hypercorrectness of determining whether a school uses "athletics" or "athletic." (Note to AP: those folks are directors of "athletics," not "athletic." An "athletic director" is one who is a pretty good athlete.)
I might go along with lowercasing all the "the"s in newspaper names, though what do you do about "The State," a newspaper here in South Carolina? It's those exceptions that prove thorny. And I'm a disciple of AP and Wall Street Journal style when it comes to uppercasing only the first letter of corporate names, despite companies like SCANA and GTECH, that want us to SHOUT their names from our pages. I like the idea of K.D. Lang and Matchbox Twenty.
But the bottom line is that these are names, and I'm afraid Montalbano's note might make a little too light the importance of those names to the people and companies who have them. I dislike the commercialization of names so that now everyone's name, if he or she chooses, effectively becomes a product placement. So simplify away -- but be sure you have thought it out thoroughly and can defend your position. These are very personal decisions. After all, what if it were your name?